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Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas. Photography by Dwight Primiano.

The Knock Out

Artist: George Wesley Bellows (1882 - 1925)
Date: 1907
21 3/4 × 28 in. (55.2 × 71.1 cm)
Framed: 34 1/2 × 40 1/4 × 2 5/8 in.
Medium: Pastel, ink, and graphite on paper
Credit Line: Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, Arkansas, 2010.82
Inscriptions: verso, on sheet: Geo Bellows / 1907 / Broadway / N.Y. / A Knock Out
Signed: u.r., in white pastel: Bellows
Not on View
Accession Number: 2010.82
Provenanceto Celia Tobin Clark [d. 1965], San Mateo, CA, 1916; A. S. W. Rosenbach [1876-1952], Philadelphia, PA; by bequest to The Philip H. and A.S.W. Rosenbach Foundation, Philadelphia, PA, 1952; (Davis & Long Company, New York, NY); purchased by Daniel Fraad [1912-1987] and Rita Fraad [1915-2004], 1976; to (Sotheby's, New York, NY), December 1, 2004, lot 13; purchased by Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Bentonville, AR, 2004

Label TextBoxing grew in popularity at the turn of the century, but some viewed the activity as a moral vice. New York State outlawed public contests in 1900. Prizefighting took to private venues such as Sharkey’s Athletic Club, where George Bellows witnessed matches. The Knock Out foregrounds the violence of the sport, as a referee struggles to hold back the victor from further beating his fallen opponent. Bellows also emphasized the intensity of the fans, surging forward and reveling in the escape from polite social conventions.